For nearly a decade, the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope outside of Cheyenne brought holiday cheer to thousands of families around the region. Unfortunately, one of the largest private light displays in the country won't be shining this Christmas.

"After eight wonderful, delightful Christmas holiday seasons, the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope will no longer be open," Kirsti Kelley Hall announced earlier this year. "Thank you, Nancy and Gary Kelley for your 8-year labor of love."

The Kelleys opened the display in 2010 as a tribute to their granddaughter who had recently undergone brain surgery. The lighted forest was powered by dozens of volunteers, attracted thousands of visitors each year, and raised thousands for the Hemi Foundation.

Over the years, the display grew to include two indoor areas, a Christmas themed train car and railroad, a creek with five waterfalls, several lifesize wildlife sculptures, 632 trees, and over 300,000 lights on 4.5 acres. At night, the lighted forest shined brighter than the city of Cheyenne and was visible from outer space.

"It started small, with visitors coming into the house for an impromptu cup of hot chocolate and leaving donations," Kelley Hall said. "The Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope and Gary and Nancy Kelley have made an incredible impact on the hemispherectomy community by donating over $63,000 to the Hemispherectomy Foundation...Thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy the Hemi Forest."

Christmas in Cheyenne won't be the same without it.




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